County DWI program’s funding cut

By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer

To battle a recent cut of 22 percent to the Quay County DWI compliance’s 2017 budget program, coordinator Bryan Rinestine has volunteered to reduce his hours dedicated to supervising clients involved in the program.

“Due to the shortfall in the upcoming year’s budget I’ve decided to reduce my hours to part-time in order to make best use of funds,” said Restine, who added that he learned of the budget cut on April 26 while visiting the New Mexico Department of Finance Authority in Santa Fe.

The cut in funds forced Rinestine to compile a new budget and have it submitted before May 6, said County Manager Richard Primrose.

Primrose said the DWI program draws its funding from two sources, DWI distribution funds and local DWI grants, both of which are funded through the liquor excise tax generated by the sale of alcohol.

Rinestine said the 2016 fiscal year budget of $120,674 was made up of $76,000 in DWI distribution funds and $27,364 in LDWI grant funds. He said the submitted budget request to the DFA for 2017 was for the same amount as last year.

“We were not trying to grow, we were just trying to carry on the same,” Rinestine said.

Primrose said the 2017 budget of $94,069 includes $92,569 in DWI distribution funds and $1,500 in LDWI grant funds. He said despite an increase in distribution funds to the program the cut in grant funding has resulted in a difference of $26,605.

Rinestine said the reduction in funding would reduce the time for client supervision from 80 hours to 60 hours a week. He said the reduction of his hours would mean a larger workload for court compliance officer/administrative assistance Andrea Shafer, who has been working toward her certification and will attend the compliance academy in September.

Primrose said an individual on DWI probation in Quay County is required to pay a $30 monthly fee, which then is used by the program. He said the DFA had suggested that to offset the reduction in funding, the county must raise its monthly fee to the maximum of $50 a month.

“As it stands I have some clients who have difficulty in paying their monthly probation fee,” Rinestine said.

Rinestine said he has attempted to find additional sources of money for the program, including grants, but to date has had no luck in locating another possible funding source.

Primrose said the budget reduction raises concerns for a program that was struggling to offer compliance services with their existing funding.

“You take away the compliance program and DWI probation and a judge is left with two choices for an offender: jail or set them free,” Primrose said.

Primrose said the lack of a DWI program also would cost the county additional money in the housing of DWI offenders at the Quay County Detention Center. He said the county would absorb the cost of housing inmates as opposed to them being placed on probation.

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